“Every Dehonian is a missionary wherever he is”

Sixteenth day of the chapter dedicated to the theme of mission. It was proposed to establish an International Mission Plan and the Justice and Peace Commission.

by  Willyans Prado Rapozo, SCJ

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With the grace of God, we have entered the last week of the XXV General Chapter. The sixteenth day began with Holy Mass celebrated in Portuguese. The main celebrant was Fr. João Nélio Simões Pereira, provincial superior of Portugal. In the chapter hall, Fr. Nélio gave a short homily on today’s liturgy. He reminded that on top of the mountain, Jesus teaches the multitude; going down from it, he heals and performs miracles. By words and works, Jesus has drawn people’s attention to the point that they wanted to make him a king. However, Jesus did not let fame distract him from accomplishing the will of the Father. On the other side of the sea, he reveals his own condition of poverty, and the expectation of radicality from those who follow him. To the master of the Law who wanted to follow him, he said “The Son of man does not have a place to rest his head”. In the same sense, the disciple must have a free disposition to surrender, “He who put his hand on the plowshare must not look behind.” To follow Jesus is demanding, and we acknowledge our failures in embracing radicality. We are called to constant conversion, to return to the Gospel. As Jesus says, “The disciple is not greater than the master.” In our Dehonian mission, we are called to leave behind securities and comforts to go with him to the unknown. As the Book of Amos states, God is with the little ones and does not support the oppression of the poor. Serving them is how we will live our charism of union with Christ.

After the meditation, chapter participants gathered in language groups to work on the theme of Mission. In the afternoon, groups shared their reflection in the assembly. The main issues identified were a lack of availability to mission, an activism leading to burnout, lack of common guidelines for mission and internationality. Ideas of an International Missionary Plan to help entities establish partnerships, initial and ongoing formation for mission and internationality have been presented as possible actions to address these issues. The Chapter also feels the need of reviving the Justice and Peace Commission, to respond to the urgent challenges of today’s world, such as migration, human trafficking, climate change, nuclear weapons threat, and an integral human development in harmony with entire creation.

We understand that Dehonian mission is wide and embraces every reality of fragmentation. Every Dehonian is a missionary wherever he is. Moreover, mission is not just what we do but is the concrete expression of our charism of oblation in the service of reparation. As disciples of Fr. Dehon, we are called to have a missionary heart with the desire to offer our talents to enrich others, and to serve particularly the poor who are forgotten and marginalized.

Closing the day, we voted on some decisions and recommendations on the theme of Dehonian Identity discussed last week. These will help the General Administration to develop a program for the next six years and help us deepen our sense of belonging to the Congregation.

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